Let me just get one thing straight here. One of the best ways to produce leads and hike up your sales is to effectively network. If you want immediate improvement in results and you are ready to step your game up to the next level, then follow these 12 steps below and you will see a true transformation in your business.
1) Give yourself a quota
Find out how many networking events there are where you live, or even elsewhere, and give yourself a goal to go to at least one a week. 2 or 3 if you have the time! There will be many reasons or excuses to not go but you must push those to the side and be diligent. Hold yourself accountable to this quota and watch your leads multiply before your eyes.
2) Be productive
When you are at these networking events, be busy, be productive, be social! Try your best to interact with as many people as possible. Don’t think this means that you should put quantity over quality. Have as many quality interactions as possible. Be early, this allows you to say hello and be easier remembered. It’s always better to meet people with less distraction before the crowd shows up. If there are people you know there, say hello but try and avoid staying in your comfort zone and meet fresh faces instead. Cut each conversation short if you notice It’s been over ten minutes UNLESS it is really going somewhere. Talk to everyone and don’t judge a book by its cover. You never know where someone could lead you.
3) Have your pitch down
The first thing you will be asked is: “what do you do?” Prepare a strong and simple answer. It should be easily explained and understandable. In sales, explain how you help instead of what you sell. Make this your value statement. For example, you could say: “I help service professionals who are selling high ticket items close deals over the phone in just one phone call.”
4) Don’t make it about you
People love to explain what they do. Especially people at networking events. During your time with them, make it as much about them as you can. This will show them that you are friendly and interested/interesting. When they ask you about yourself, keep it precise but shine the light back on them. This will create a different connection in their mind then someone simply speaking about themselves.
5) Ask quality questions with intention
In the previous point, we made it about them. The easiest way to do this is to ask quality questions. These questions should have the intention to inform you on whether they can be helpful to your business. Some examples of questions are:
What do you do?
How long have you been in this industry?
What was it that pointed you in this direction?
What is the best thing about what it is you do?
How did you hear about this event?
Is this your first time here?
Have you found this event to be productive and helpful for your business?
Do you know of any other quality networking events?
Is there any way I can be helpful in making you successful?
What does a good prospect look like to you?
You may be surprised by their answers and get yourself a new lead or even a new client.
It is so important to listen to what they say. If you meet someone that you see a future with, you must be a listener. This will ensure you build a strong relationship and improve your networking ability with them. Listen closely and retain this information. Nothing flatters someone more than when a person remembers everything they told them.
And hey, being a good listener is not a bad quality to have. It will help in so many more facets of your life.
7) Make the right goal
Networking events are not meant for you to sell your product. If you are doing this, you not only will waste your time, but it means you have missed the entire point. If you go in with the goal of maybe finding a referral partner and instead of selling your product there, book future meetings to sell your product, you will be so much more productive. Having a referral partner will get you the exposure to all the people they know and you can repay the favor.
8) Pre-qualify them
I have touched base on this in past. There is nothing wrong with pre-qualifying people. This ensures you are not wasting your time or theirs. Have a general list of pre-qualifying questions that can help you determine this. Their answers to your questions can be the determining factor to whether they might be a prospect or referral partner. Maybe even nothing, but at least your time with them stops there. You can then make the decision not to make any future meetings with them.
9) Follow up meeting
If all goes well in the pre-qualifying conversation, it is time to schedule a meeting. Don’t hesitate on closing the next step of scheduling your meeting. Let them know that you have a lot to talk about and they have some really great questions. Say that you want to know so much more about what they are offering, but you’re not sure if the event is the right place as there are too many distractions and you won’t have adequate time. Then plan to get together on another day. People at networking events are usually pretty keen to meet up and talk shop.
10) Follow-up e-mail
Whoever you had had quality conversations with, send them a follow-up e-mail letting them know it was great to meet them and you would love to talk more about how you might be able to do business in the future together. If you booked a time to meet, let them know you are looking forward to it (this also confirms the booking)
11) Social Media
Try and find them on social media after you meet them. This will open more doors to more contacts. LinkedIn is one of the best for business networking. This doesn’t mean that you should not be open to the others as well.
12) CRM and e-mail marketing system
Add the contact to your CRM and e-mail marketing systems. The CRM helps you to retain information and schedule and track your future prospects. It always helps to use some sort of e-mail marketing software. This allows you to broadcast out to your network on a regular basis. This keeps you fresh in their minds so they remember you and think of you for referrals or purchases. It’s all good to meet people, its keeping in contact that will keep the relationship alive.
Good luck out there! Go and fill the blank spots in your calendar with networking events and I promise you will see your business start to increase.